Orbital Ramps Satellite Production In Arizona

Orbital Sciences Corporation, a manufacturer and developer of satellites, said it is ramping up production of satellites at its Gilbert, Arizona factory, as part of a contract with Iridium. Orbital said it has started production of 81 satellites for the Iridium NEXT program, which is aimed at replacing Iridium's current low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. The deal also calls for the creation of a "Foreign Trade Zone" in Arizona to reduce costs for imported, foreign source hardware from Thales Alenia Space. Iridium is a provider of voice and data communications, including satellite phone services. Orbital did not say how the ramp of its operations in Gilbert would affect jobs and headcount at its location.